06/08/2015 2:07 PM -
It was an exciting weekend for Lethbridge Bulls fans to say the least. When all was said and done the boys finished up 3-0, and Friday night’s game at Spitz Stadium was one of the most memorable wins in recent years. The Bulls are continuing their hot play to start the 2015 campaign. Their 7-1 record is tops in the league, and puts them 1.5 games ahead of second place Edmonton in the Alberta division. Medicine Hat and Okotoks round out the division with records of 3-5 and 1-6 respectively.
Thursday night the Bulls hosted Edmonton for the first of two games. The Bulls were outplayed in every aspect of the game, dropping the contest 11-2. It was an eye opener for the boys who lost their undefeated start to the season.
In true Bulls fashion the boys bounced back and played one of the most memorable games in recent years on Friday evening. It was a fairly normal start to the game. Edmonton jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. The Bulls answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second. The score remained at 2-2 until the bottom of the 5th inning when the Bulls tacked on two more runs to make the score 4-2. The back and forth contest was tied up once again in the 8th inning when Edmonton rallied with two runs off of reliever Reno Dupuis. That’s where the fun started. Neither team was able to score in the 9th and the game was forced to go to extra innings. Second year pitcher Chris Stodolka was impressive to say the least. A reliever who usually only throws one or two innings was able to gut out 3 and 2/3 innings in relief for the Bulls. Heading to the 12th inning the score was still tied 4-4. After Stodolka finished the 11th, first year pitcher Andrew Grieder got into trouble to start the 12th inning. A single followed by two walks loaded the bases with nobody out. Coach MacDonald went to his bullpen and called for right handed reliever Matthew Beaton to try to get out of the jam. Beaton came up huge forcing a 5-2-3 double play, one of the hardest double plays to turn in baseball. Beaton collected the 3rd out easily after that and got the team out of the jam unscathed. Heading to the bottom of the inning the score was still tied 4-4 and the bulls had the heart of their lineup set to hit. Pidhaichuk led off the inning with a walk, and Brandon Bufton struck out. That brought veteran catcher Travis Steinke to the plate. Steinke who is known for his homerun power did not disappoint. He sent a 1-1 pitch into the night. Steinke lined a 12th inning walk off homerun off the scoreboard in left field to end the contest. Steinke was mobbed by his teammates a home plate in front of the fans who stuck out the marathon game. The game was an emotional roller coaster and it seemed to spark the Bulls over the course of Saturday and Sunday.
The Bulls followed their exhilarating victory on Friday night at home, by heading to Okotoks for two games on the road. Saturday night was also a victory to remember for the Lethbridge Bulls. A Okotoks story written earlier in the season compared the Bulls luck in the team’s first meeting on the year to a miniputt course, because the Bulls hit so many holes. Whether it motivated them or not the Bulls pounded out 20 hits on Saturday night beating the Okotoks Dawgs by a staggering 18-3 margin in front of a sellout crowd at Seamen Stadium. Mason Shiflett led the attack going 5-6 with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI’s. It was a complete team effort at the plate though, every starter recorded at least one hit on the evening.
Sunday’s contest at Seamen stadium was played in the afternoon on one of the nicest days of the year so far. With temperatures reaching 30 degrees the boys were able to record their 4th victory over the rival Dawgs to start the season, winning 7-3. Newcomer Tyler Gibson arrived in Canada on Saturday night, and head coach Ryan MacDonald didn’t wait long to throw him into the mix. He started the Sunday afternoon game for the Bulls pitching 5 innings, with 2 ER, and 2 k’s on the afternoon. On offense Mitch Dornblut led the way, he was 4-5 with a run scored and an RBI. He is now hitting .385 to start the 2015 season.
You can catch the bulls back in action on Tueday night when they take on the Medicine Hat Mavericks at Spitz Stadium. Game time is 7:05pm.